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Venom Prison - Animus (Reissue)

Venom Prison
Animus (Reissue)
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 18 March 2018, 2:28 PM

VENOM PRISON is a Death Metal band from Wales, whose lyrics are actually something unique in the world of extreme metal.  A lot of Death Metal, especially the Brutal kind, have lyrics depicting rape, assault, and violence usually aimed at women.  VENOM PRISON’s lyrics deal with oppression and politics surrounding sexism and misogyny, and also feature songs, such as “Perpetrator Emasculation, with violence geared towards rapists.  Regardless of how you personally feel about politics, it is refreshing to see things from another point of view, especially in such a brutal musical genre.  As a reviewer, I do my best to remain objective. I do the same in politics; I don’t consider myself part of either mainstream parties nor do I view myself as conservative or liberal.  I just try to keep an open mind, and that is what VENOM PRISON brings to the table.  The lyrics aren’t preachy and vocalist Larissa Stupar isn’t trying to argue that Death Metal should do something different with their lyrics.  She is simply offering another point of view—there are problems in the world and she wants it to be known.  Feminism doesn’t have to be a word that we should fear or automatically assume the worst about.  In addition to these more feminist themes, the band also tackles issues such as mental health and fascism.

However, in the end, regardless of lyrical themes what really matters is the music.  So how does it stack up?  Very fucking well. Larissa is a brutal and very capable vocalist.  I would put her up against any in the genre, regardless of gender.  Women doing these vocal styles, while few and far between, obviously isn’t new but Larissa isn’t a great female vocalist; she is a great vocalist period. I also want to praise the band’s song structures.  As much I love Death Metal, I don’t always need to hear a seven minute long song in that style.  Using their hardcore influence, the band keeps most of the songs under the four minute mark.  These short bursts of pure adrenaline work very well and creates a constant flow that keeps you hooked.  Tracks like “Desecration of Human Privilege,” and “Abysmal Agony,” just wouldn’t be as effective if they were longer.  They do what they intended to do (destroy your FACE) and then finish.  A couple of the “longer” songs go over four minutes and I feel they miss their mark somewhat.  They are by no means bad songs, but the band seems to fire on all cylinders a lot easier with shorter lengths.  An exception is the track “Immanetize Eschaton,” and the melodic ending; it fit the song very well and I wish the album had more of these moments.

But all the song writing skills in the world won’t help you if you can’t play.  Fortunately, Ben Thomas and Ash Grey are a riff mashing, cord ripping duo.  They are equally comfortable playing both fast riffs and more hardcore, metal influenced crunchy riffs. Bassist Mike Jeffries is a very capable bass player but I wish he was in the mix more; he is very much buried.  The double layer of vocals doesn’t help anything shine thru and it makes the songs and production sound a bit muddled at times.  Joe Sheehy is a beast on the kit and I’m not sure if his double bass ever actually stopped, even for a second.  His machine-like rhythm really added an extra layer of brutal darkness to the band. All in all, a great Death Metal release and I look forward to hearing more from this band in the future.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Syllogism
2. Abysmal Agony
3. Celestial Patricide
4. Desecration of Human Privilege
5. Corrode the Black Sunday
6. Immanetize Eschaton
7. The Exquisite Taste of Selfishness
8. Devoid
9. Perpetrator Emasculation
10. Womb Forced Animus
Lineup:
Ben Thomas – Guitars
Larissa Stupar - Vocals
Ash Gray - Guitars
Mike Jefferies – Bass
Joe Sheehy – Drums
Record Label: Prosthetic Records
     


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